Love’s Brother

Year: 2004
Director: Jan Sardi
Writer: Jan Sardi
Cast: Adam Garcia, Giovanni Ribisi, Amelia Warner, Barry Otto, Reg Mombassa
At the time this film came out, there seemed to be so many miserable stories around that made you miserable in watching them. Stories about rape (Irreversible) and child prostitution and abandonment (Lilya 4 Ever) were just two that went way past Hollywood's self-styled brief of happy endings, sweetness and light.

So sitting down to watch a harmless love story full of pretty people was in itself a breath of fresh air.

Set in 1950's rural Victoria, it centres on the early Italian immigrant community and in particular two brothers, Angelo (Ribisi) and Gino (Garcia). The quiet and traditional Angelo has been writing letters to Italy trying to find a bride, but has been knocked back again.

By contrast, Gino is self-assured, slick, popular with the girls (such as his girlfriend Connie) and happy-go-lucky. Despite their differences, the two share an inseparable bond.

When the opportunity comes up to propose to a new girl, Angelo (in a typical Hollywood 'fine mess in the making' fashion), sends his handsome brothers' photo instead of his own.

The beautiful Rosetta (Warner) falls immediately in love with Gino's picture and agrees, only to find her betrothed is in fact the reserved Angelo.

The Fine Mess grows like a snowball as Rosetta, in love with Gino despite the mixup, has the pain of the man she loves not wanting anything to do with her.

But (somewhat predictably), Gino becomes increasingly enamoured with Rosetta, and after the rocky road for the brothers, Rosetta and Connie, the happy ending couldn't be any neater or happier after the fabulously romantic cruise ship climax.

A cute addition is Reg Mombassa as a traveling artist who keeps cropping up to paint the wall of the café - the epicentre of the community - who silently leaves while the town celebrates around him, like a guardian angel having done his work.

Lovely, beautiful, and sweet, it was a spoonful of sugar when everyone else was feeding audiences basalt and brimstone. Garcia has a great presence something like a young Brando, but his accent falls apart a little. The always brilliant Ribisi is the older Brando, mumbling in his high pitched voice like the Godfather. Warner stands there looking poverty-chic glamourous and everyone else - including the audience - has a great time.

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